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Full text of "In memoriam. Ann E. Carter, died March 4, 1882"

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BEACON PRESS : THOMAS TODO, PRINTER, 1 SOMERSET ST., BOSTON. 



ANN E. CARTER. 

©ieD Match i 1882. 



MEMORIAL. 



Funeral services over the remains of Miss A. E. 
Carter, who for seventeen vears had been a 
teacher at Wheaton Seminary, Norton, Massachusetts, 
were held in the Seminary Hall, in that place, on 
Monday morning, March 6th, 1882. 

The desk where she had been accustomed to sit was 
wreathed with flowers, and the services began with the 
singing of a hymn selected by herself — "Jerusalem the 
golden." Appropriate remarks were made by Rev. Mr. 
Lane, pastor of the church at Norton ; by Rev. Mr. Ide, 
of Mansfield ; and by Rev. Dr. Blake, of Taunton, who 
for many years has been President of the Board of 
Trustees of Wheaton Seminary. 

After the singing, by the school, of one of Miss 
Carter's favorite hymns, "He leadeth me," prayer was 
offered by Rev. Mr. Plumb, and the mortal remains of 
the beloved teacher were taken to Leominster for 
interment. 

One of the most impressive features of the occasion 



8 

was the reading by Rev. Mr. Ide of the following poem, 
written by Miss Carter not long before her death, and 
found among her papers : 



ENTERED INTO THE JOY OF THEIR LORD. 

The far-off world that draws so near 

When earthly scenes grow dim, 
The place that Jesus has prepared, 

The dwelling-place with him, 
Lies hidden, by a mystic veil 

Withholden from our eyes ; 
A breath will set its folds astir — 

We cannot bid it rise. 

We feel the presences unseen 

That fill the silent air, 
We almost hear familiar tones, 

Responsive to our prayer ; 
And yet we listen all in vain — 

We long and listen still 
For utterance of the higher thoughts 

Their larger lives that fill. 

But this we know: the wondrous joy 

To which they enter in, 
The Lord's own joy, must be fulfilled 

In work to his akin. 
A blessedness to earth unknown 

Is theirs beyond, above ; 
Because a wider world unfolds 

For ministries of love. 



ADDRESS BY REV. MORTIMER BLAKE, D.D. 



IT SEEMS to me a signal mark of the divine favor to 
this Institution that, during its forty-eight years of 
existence and amongst its one hundred and fifty differ- 
ent teachers, this is the first instance, so far as I know, 
in which one of those teachers has died in office and 
during a term.* We have been now, for the first time, 
called together in this Hall to hear the great and solemn 
lesson of death given from a teacher's silent lips to our 
young and hopeful life. Nearly fifty years of school-life, 
and not a death amongst our corps of active teachers ! 
It is an occasion for devout gratitude which must not 
be forgotten in the sadness of this our first hour of 
mourning. 

It is another consoling beam" of light from the past, 
falling upon and diminishing the present darkness, that 
she who has now vacated her chair has been one of the 
longest connected and one of the most valuable and 
highly esteemed among our noble company of teachers. 

*Miss Jane B. Robinson, a graduate and teacher from 1856 to 185S, died while in 
office, but during vacation. 



IO 



This seminary has been eminently blessed of the Lord, 
therefore, in the continuance of such a teacher. Our 
proper recognition of the gift will justify the few per- 
sonal facts following : 

Ann Eliza Carter was the daughter of the late 
Hon. James G. Carter, and was born in Lancaster, 
Massachusetts, August 10, 1833, on the banks of the 
Nashua River, and in sight of Wachusett Mountain; 
and died in Norton, March 4, 1882, in the forty-ninth 
year of her age. Her father was one of the original 
members of our State Board of Education. He origi- 
nated the system of "Normal" instruction, and was also 
instrumental in securing the establishment of the first 
Normal school at Lancaster. 

Miss Carter was carefully educated in her own beauti- 
ful home, and under her father's skillful instruction, and 
so thoroughly taught that at the age of fourteen she was 
well fitted and could have honorably entered Harvard 
University if she had only been a boy. But it was at 
this same age that her fitness for entering a still higher, 
even the school of Christ, came before her. It was in 
the privacy of her own chamber that her self-examina- 
tion went on, and, after a long, serious, and earnest 
deliberation, she came to the hearty conclusion to con- 
secrate her young heart, her acquirements, and her life 
to the great Master of all true souls. It was a decision 
which she never regretted, and from which she never 
swerved. 



II 

Miss Carter's first election as a teacher in this Semi- 
nary was in 1862. After two years' service she withdrew 
for a short period of recuperation, for she was not of a 
vigorous constitution. But those, her first years of ser- 
vice, had so indicated her eminent abilities as a teacher, 
that in 1866 her name reappears in the corps of our 
teachers, and never to be dropped again for the follow- 
ing sixteen years, until now at last a star has fallen upon 
that page, and will stand before her familiar name as a 
sign to us to look up henceforth, if we would know 
whither she has gone. 

For seventeen years this Seminary has been favored 
with the presence, the bright intelligence, and the sweet 
Christian life of Miss Ann E. Carter. Though future 
catalogues will look blank indeed without her so long 
familiar and pleasant name, yet let us be thankful that 
He who loves and soon gathers all precious souls to 
Himself has allowed it to stand among its sisterhood of 
names so long. 

But value of service is not to be measured by the 
length of time spent in its doing. Deeds, not years, 
will indicate the worth of our life-work when we leave 
the vineyard ; and by this measurement how richly has 
this Seminary been endowed by the seventeen years of 
such work as this now departed teacher has given to it. 
I am sure I speak the thought of all this Board of 
Trustees in saying that, while this school has been 
eminently blessed in its whole company of teachers 



12 

from the beginning, and while we hold in special honor 
the present occupants of our chairs of instruction, yet 
it is no disparagement of any to aver that the stimulat- 
ing and elevating influence of Miss Carter has been 
preeminent. Indeed, I may apply to her the words of 
Lemuel :." Many daughters have done virtuously, but 
thou excellest them all." Her pupils of the last fifteen 
years would, if it were left to them, select these words 
for her epitaph. Indeed, this sentence is already writ- 
ten in their hearts, and they will always read her name 
above it, as memory holds the light of the passing years 
along the sacred pages. 

More than one pupil, when leaving this school, has 
actually said, "I love Miss Carter — I think she is per- 
fect." There was really a charm in her even and quiet 
ways, and in her evidently suppressed enthusiasm, 
which won young hearts to her and rested them under 
the ambitions and worries and frictions of school-girl life. 
They felt sure of sympathy and uplift, and they never 
failed to find it, unmixed, too, with the tartness of re- 
proofs. Her cottage was almost like home to the disheart- 
ened and the sometimes homesick ones, where she was 
as an elder sister and came very nearly like to a mother. 
But divine grace had superadded to her natural endow- 
ments for teachership the strength and beauty of a firm 
and consistent Christian character. She brought, there- 
fore, to her chosen department of Literature and the 
History of Civilization a spirit in warm accord with the 



13 

central moving influences of Christianity. No theories 
of mere world-forces shook her confidence in the power 
of the cross of Christ to draw all men unto Him. As 
she. believed, so she taught ; and in her fidelity to the 
common religious instincts in her pupils lieth Miss 
Carter's great power unto this day, and will lie so long 
as her teachings shall be remembered and repeated. 

It must not be omitted that Miss Carter notably im- 
parted herself and her ideas, and even her enthusiasm, 
unto her pupils. So soon as our scholars came fairly 
under her teachings, they began to glow with a new zeal 
and a broader longing. They showed that they had 
come in contact with a warmly alive and originating 
mind. Their graduation day especially indicated that 
they had been sent exploring for themselves, and had 
brought out of the school treasuries things both new 
and old — brought them, too, in exquisite settings, as 
under a skillful director; yet under one who simply 
stimulated and guided and watched, but supplemented 
nothing. 

But neither words nor time suffice to outline the 
grand work of this teacher, who has now closed the 
book and dismissed the senior class of this 'Seminary 
forevermore. And it is not needful. Her work has 
enstamped itself upon the character and life of I know 
not how many hundreds of pupils here. None of them 
will forget the kindled and flashing eye which itself 
repeated the question of her lips; or the smile which 



14 

drew out so adroitly and welcomed the sometimes hesi- 
tant answer; or the suggestive hint which, like a key, 
opened a door into some new room of rich thoughts ; or 
the skillfully selected scripture readings of the morning 
and evening devotions ; or the wise and winning Christian 
counsels of the prayer meeting and the private interview; 
or the class mottoes shrewdly selected, and given to each 
group of graduates as a life impulse. All these are a 
blessed legacy from a rich mind and a beautiful Chris- 
tian life, which has now passed on unto the perfection of 
beauty, and even unto the feet of the King of beauty 
and the great Teacher of all pure and true souls. Yes, 
the gift of these past seventeen years of such a life to 
this school is an endowment worth more really to its 
true purpose than all else. It has founded and crowned 
our professorship of literature, and may the income from 
it never be lost, decreased, or perverted. 




IN MEMORIAM. 

A. E. C. 

IT IS one of the deepest satisfactions of life to share, 
or to have shared, in the work of those who have 
toiled faithfully for others. And where this community 
of interests has been in the field of mental and moral 
development, the fraternal feeling becomes especially 
close. The labor of those who have joined us in our 
most earnest purposes, or who take up our work where 
we laid it down, we partly claim as our own, and delight 
in it all the more if it is a better and more permanent 
service than we ourselves have been able to render. 

To come into personal relations with others through 
some useful or noble occupation, to feel that we have 
won friendship out of some mutual high endeavor, is 
happiness indeed. This is one of the frequent compen- 
sations of a teacher's lot in a school where home-life and 
instruction are blended. Such a life, if undertaken with 
any sort of earnestness, is always one of self-sacrifice, 
and, but for the strong personal attachments awakened 



i6 

by common interests, might sometimes becomes weari- 
some in the extreme. 

It is with feelings of gratitude for Miss Carter's work 
and influence at Wheaton Seminary, and also for having 
been permitted to know her as a friend, that her prede- 
cessor there in the same line of study and teaching turns 
back the pages of time to the period of her coming to 
Norton, and of our first acquaintance with each other. 

English literature was not included in the earlier 
course of study at* the Seminary. It was felt to be im- 
portant, however, and the trustees decided that there 
should be a short course of lectures on the subject, 
which, at their request, I gave as a part of the Wednes- 
day afternoon exercises. Immediately after, the outline 
of studies was rearranged, much according to its present 
order, and the history of literature, especially of the 
English classics, was made a part of the regular course. 
I well remember the zest with which the girls who 
formed those first classes pursued their work, haunting 
the library early and late — for they found at once that 
literature could not be studied from a text-book — and 
learning from a loving acquaintance with the old stand- 
ards to enjoy even that terror and dread of school-girls 
— writing composition. Teacher and pupils both found 
a constant stimulus to study in exploring together what 
we all know to be a well-nigh inexhaustible field. It was 
no uncommon thing to hear those girls regretting that 
they could not spend their whole time upon English 



i7 

literature, to which only two terms out of the three that 
then made up the school year were allowed. To the 
general subject, studied with Schlegel's outline, only one 
term of the graduating year was given ; but under the 
instructions of Miss Blair, who first took the class, these 
few weeks were made very valuable. 

The department of Literature and English Composi- 
tion seemed to fall naturally into Miss Carter's hands, 
and we know how she held the interest of her pupils, 
and brought out their best capacities, during the long 
period of her service as a teacher. 

She came to Norton just as I was about leaving on 
account of broken health. We used to talk over plans of 
teaching our favorite study, which we both felt had been 
too much neglected in the education of girls. One 
could not come into contact with her without being im- 
pressed by her refined tastes, her thoroughness as a 
student, her sincerity, and her high standard in all 
things. She was never in the least obtrusive of her un- 
usual scholarly attainments ; and in our frequent con- 
ferences,, at intervals during the following years, nothing 
was so evident as her desire to teach in such a way as 
to help develop thought and character in her pupils, 
with a native shyness, always holding herself in the 
background. 

Modest to a fault with regard to her own accomplish- 
ments, few knew of her fine practical literary talents, of 
the excellent things she had written and occasionally 



i8 

published. A hymn prepared for the graduating exer- 
cises of the school, or a tender devotional poem caught 
floating upon the tide of unacknowledged verse, would 
now and then bring her hidden gift to light. The first 
poetry of hers I ever saw was a verse or two which I 
had gathered into a little compilation begun at Norton,* 
without knowing the authorship, afterwards revealed 
through a friend. These verses are so characteristic of 
Miss Carter's spiritual attitude, they are so true a re- 
minder of herself, that they cannot be out of place 
here. 

Quiet in God — the ever-present seal 

Of faith unspoken ; 
Believing faces, infant lips, reveal 

Its nameless token : 
A gift bestowed upon the poor oppressed — 

To kings forbidden — 
Beneath the shadow of thy wings to rest, 

Securely hidden. 
To bear for them the cross, as if for thee, 

Strengthen me ever ! 
Among thy hidden ones, O number me, 

Now and forever ! 

We recall with pleasure Miss Carter's gifts and ac- 
complishments, her success as a writer and as a 
teacher ; but it is for her Christian womanhood, its 
sympathy and its faithfulness, its gentleness and its 
strength, that her friends think of her most tenderly. 

* BreatJmigs of a Better Life. 



19 

Its pervasive grace and sweetness were felt in all her 
relations to others. It made her pleasant cottage like a 
bower of Paradise to those who came under the shelter 
of its roof, even for a brief stay. The perfect harmony 
between her and the sister teacher, with whose her 
daily life was interwoven, made the place a true home. 
One learned there that happy family and social relations 
could be established by women whose lives might other- 
wise have been very solitary, and that the secret of the 
home-happiness found under that roof lay in its hospi- 
tality, in its enlarging itself to shelter and help other 
lives. 

The pupils who came to that little cottage in the gar- 
den felt themselves refreshed by influences they could 
not analyze, by the fragrance of the heavenly life breath- 
ing through a character rich and beautiful in its cultiva- 
tion. And the guests whose privilege it was to sojourn 
there felt the charm yet more deeply, especially those to 
whom it was given to go there as a friend. 

Miss Carter's nature was of that rare kind which 
instinctively makes and holds friends through the power 
of giving its best and of finding the best in others. It 
is like a special talent — this capacity for friendship ; in 
her case it seemed to spring from her deep and close 
union with the one divine life, in which her thought en- 
folded all whom she knew. 

The little cottage stands, set in its green and flowery 
enclosure; the Seminary remains under its embowering 



20 

trees ; but the teacher's beloved face is no longer seen 
there. The voice of the dear friend is forever hushed. 
But the memory of what she was, the inspiration of her 
life and character remain and are in the home and the 
school she loved as a living presence. Through lives 
like hers we know that there is no necessary separation 
between earth and heaven — that through the pure and 
consecrated beings we have known here we are linked 
with all that is true and permanent in the unseen. 

Lucy Larcom.